To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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As readers, we saw Scout mature and grow as our narrator and as a person. She learned many things, but also lost many things. As she grew up and changed, she began to see how things really were, and gained the knowledge of the pure hate that one man can show another. Scout lost her innocence when she found this out. She began to see how cruel the world could be to someone who is a little different or strange. She saw this in the prejudice that was shown to Tom Robinson, Walter Cunningham, Miss Maudie and even herself.
She gained the wisdom of the world outside her back door and began to see how society works, (it is very cruel and cynical). Although this may not have been a good thing, she could now see how unimportant it was. Atticus taught Jem and Scout to be polite, caring kids. He instilled in them a great sense of love for their neighbor and told them things that would help them get on in life. Scout was very lucky to have someone to guide her along the way. Although she was faced with “the real world”, she had lots of people who would willingly explain to her and guide her.
Scout really matured during the course of this book. She went from a six-year-old child with no knowledge of the real world to a ten year old who had a lot of life’s most important lessons shown to her at a very young age. She had to learn, very quickly, that life would not always be easy and fun. She learned of the horrible ways men can treat other men and of the ugliness of station, poverty and hate.
The author, Harper Lee, picked an interesting person to narrate the story. This had some advantages and disadvantages as the story progressed. This writing technique is a very versatile one. When the author uses Scout as the first person, she opens the reader’s eyes to the way children think and act. She also offers a fair opinion of the affairs of Maycomb, and doesn’t dwell on adult matters and make it boring. Some disadvantages of picking Scout for the first person viewpoint were that even though she was smart, she didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. She was too innocent and young to really grasp the point sometimes and tell the reader, about it.

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The author did an excellent job of making the story somewhat easy to understand and fun to read. By picking a child to tell the story, it was easier to read between the lines and find the real meaning of what was being said.
“It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”
This touching paragraph speaks about the meaning of courage. There were many people who showed different kinds of courage. Atticus was probably one of the bravest people in the story. He stood up for a black man who was going against a white man in court. A lot of people disagreed with him, and some went so far as to spit in his face. But he pressed on against all odds. Mrs. Dubose was very brave also. She overcame her morphine addiction so that she could be free from earth when she died. She was so determined to do it. She had beaten all the odds to overcome her addition. Boo Radley was also brave. He risked his own life to save two children that he barely knew. He could have run for the sheriff or gotten Atticus, but he got into the thick of things and he killed a man to save another. He also faced so much gossip and persecution because of his home life and the way he chose to live. He could have come out any time he wanted to but he didn’t, and because he didn’t, he suffered for it.
So many characters in this book were brave in their own special way as well. Mr. Cunningham was brave, because even though he was very poor, he took no charity and tried very hard to pay off all his debts with goods, if not with money. In a strange way, the Ewells showed courage also. If not admirable courage, it was still a form of courage. Getting up in court and lying to save their honor (or what they thought was honor) was not a wise thing to do. Harper Lee made sure that every single character was defined and stable. She made each one real as our parents, while still remembering they were characters in a book. Courage is a wonderful thing, and Lee did a great job of showing real courage.
We then begin to hear about how Tom Robinson, a black man, has been accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman, and how everyone is saying that Atticus defends Negroes. The plot then goes on to explain about the trial and what happens afterwards, but we don’t hear about Boo Radley until Halloween. When the kids are attacked, that is when the two plots combine. Boo Radley fights Mr. Ewell and carries Jem home. Scout figures out what happens and realizes who he is. Their game of “Making Boo Radley Come Out” has finally succeeded!
The two plots could have easily been made into two separate books. But the author is so clever about intertwining to two plots, you don’t even notice how they are different until you sit back and think about it. This is a really good literary technique. Harper Lee was so good at writing that she just does it so naturally and wonderfully that it doesn’t seemed forced or unnatural. These to plots are so interesting; I wish she had gone into more detail with each one.
     When you write a book, you should try to use a variety of literary techniques to make your book or story interesting. Harper Lee used almost every single one when she wrote, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He used humor, suspense, foreshadowing, dialect, flashback and irony to tell her story. When Lee wrote this book, she made the entire book a flashback. She begins the story as reminiscence about her brother’s broken arm. By making the entire story a flashback, she could add funny stories and additions while still keeping the story line. Suspense was another nig addition to the book. When she ends chapters with sentences like: “ Well, call him” or “ He was right”, you want to find out what is going to happen next, thus making you read on further. Dialect is another interesting addition to the story. When she uses words and language that are appropriate to the times, you get the feeling that you are really there and not reading Shakespearian Literature. When Lee uses foreshadowing to tell what is going to come, she makes you wonder what is going to happen next. When Atticus talked about real courage, he was explaining to them about his case and why he was taking it. Foreshadowing is another great way to get your readers to keep reading and wondering what is going to happen next. Humor is probably the best way to keep teenagers interested in the story. Irony is one of the biggest elements in this story. An ironic moment is when the children spend an entire summer trying to get Boo outside, and when he does come out (of his own accord), it’s to save them. Irony is important to the story because the theme of the book is ironic in itself.
When Harper Lee wrote this book, she left room for relationships to grow and change. For example, the children’s relation to Atticus starts out as the basic child-father relationship. But as the story progresses, they begin to see what a great man he is. They realize that by defending Tom Robinson, he is doing something that no other man would do, not for the glory, but because it is the right thing to do. Jem and Scouts relationship changed too. It started as a little child brother- sister relationship. As Jem grew up, he began having second thoughts about having Scout around all the time. It was turning into a big brother-little sister relationship, where the brother doesn’t want the little sister around. Scout and Aunt Alexandra do not really get along. Aunt Alexandra is concerned with society and gossip, and Scout thinks it is dumb and boring. Their relationship grows a little in the book, partly do to the intercession of her father, but their relationship mostly stays the same. Scout and Dill’s relationship is an interesting one. It goes from ‘just friends’ to wanting to have a baby. Dill’s family life isn’t that great and Scout is like a sister to him. When he runs away from home, Scout is really sympathetic and Dill thinks that his parents do not love him. Scout really feels for him, and he likes that. The children and Boo’s relationship is probably the most interesting one in the book. It goes from an obsession to an unconditional love. When Boo saves the children’s lives, he proves that he loves them. They realize that Boo was the one giving them little trinkets in the tree, and they realize that he is the one who folded Jem’s pants and laughed inside the house. Boo loved the children, even though he barely knew them. He showed an unconditional love that most adults would not show. He was so kind that he risked his life for the children, and that is why Scout grows to love him.

Minor characters often play a very important role in the story. Although their role may seem minor, they often make the whole story come together and make sense. Harper Lee had a lot of minor characters that played an important role in the story. Calpurnia was one of them. Cal was the maid, but she was also the mother figure and disciplinarian of the household. She was the one who taught Scout to write. If she had not done that, the whole section about the teacher getting mad would not have happened. Miss Maudie also played an important role in the book. She showed the children respect for their elders and told them to mind their own business about Boo. Link Deas was an interesting character. He wasn’t really important, but since he was Tom Robinson’s employer, he had to exist, to give Tom Robinson a job so he could pass the Ewells every day. Aunt Alexandria, Scout’s Aunt, tries to get Scout to act more like a girl, which Scout cannot stand! Aunt Alexandria was very concerned with raising Atticus’ children properly. She opens Scout’s eyes to the ways of society and why gossip can ruin a person.
Harper Lee once called this book “a simple love story”. Critics today call it an icon of American literature. Why can we not call it both? The book is a love story between the children and Boo Radley. But critics say it was so mush more than that.
It truly was. Harper Lee used so many literary techniques, characterizations, relationship developments and so many other things even the greatest literary master probably couldn’t tell you what this book means. But why can’t a book be both? A Wrinkle in Time is a great adventure book but it’s also a great Newberry award winner. So can Harper Lee’s simple love story between three children and a man not wanting to be pulled into society’s drowning currents be one of the greatest books ever written? A book that has so many hidden and double meanings be one of the most well respected and loved books in all of America? Can a book that touches on so many issues that are still alive today and that peaks to every one of us in a special way be on of the most sold and read books in the world?
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